The State Government has again asked for feedback on the Aboriginal Lands Act. We must all act now to make sure the Aboriginal Community decides how the returned land is governed and managed.
The Government is encouraging further feedback on revised proposals, which would remove the current safeguards in place regarding the electoral roll and how land is managed. The review of the previous consultation seems to bias certain submissions, who feel that the current process excludes ‘local’ Aboriginal people and organisations.
The new proposals are:
- They have changed the proposal for how people can join the ALCT roll. They are intending to introduce a three-part test, with the Electoral Commissioner making decisions based on ‘advice’ from an advisory panel.
- This advisory panel is proposed to be appointed by the Minister, which leaves this open to political interference.
- To provide land management authority to ‘local’ Aboriginal organisations in the area of the Aboriginal land parcel.
To ensure access rights for Aboriginal people and all Aboriginal identified organisations.
- To require ALCT to prepare and publish managements plans and an annual report
Feedback needs to be submitted by Sunday, 12 March 2023 to AboriginalLandsAct@dpac.tas.gov.au
The TAC has heard the main issues and suggested feedback is provided below. You can copy and paste the below into an email to make your submission.
Email subject: Submission for Aboriginal Lands Act Review
Revisions to Aboriginal Land Council Tasmania (ALCT) Elections
- The community has already stated they do not want any revisions to the ALCT elections.
- The current process allows Aboriginal people to challenge anyone applying to get on the roll who is not Aboriginal. Anyone challenged must prove their eligibility through an Aboriginal Panel appointed by the Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner. This is the most appropriate, transparent, and fair process.
- If an ‘advisory’ panel is needed then the elected ALCT should act as this panel to the Electoral Commissioner – not another panel appointed by a Minister as this will undermine any confidence in the process.
- Alternatively, appointments could be made by the Commissioner themselves and be restricted to the existing members of the ALCT electoral roll.
A land management role for local or regional Aboriginal community organisations.
- Current Aboriginal land managers who look after Aboriginal land (and who are local to these areas), are experienced, and have the deep knowledge and expertise to care for our country and its resources. They have restored extensive landscapes over the years and must continue as the land managers.
- We should be caring for country in a united way to maintain cultural resources and access for all Aboriginal people.
- All Aboriginal people currently have access to Aboriginal Land so no changes are required.
- ALCT is collective and inclusive ownership model and community members are part of its governance, unlike other organisations. In other organisations, rights are only given to members on their list, it is exclusive and any transfer of land to these organisations will exclude Aboriginal people across Tasmania.
- ALCT already generates and publishes management plans via the Health Country Planning processes and is accountable to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community.
- ALCT does not receive appropriate funding to deliver the proposed significant reporting proposals, and is already meeting the requirements required by the Tasmanian Audit Office, which requires significant time and resources to achieve.
The Aboriginal community must decide how land is returned and managed.
To read the consultation papers, and to read the previous submissions, visit https://www.aboriginalheritage.tas.gov.au/legislation/aboriginal-legislative-reform/aboriginal-lands-act